back to article Roses are red, are you single, we wonder? 'Cos this moth-brain AI can read your phone number

A pair of academics have reproduced part of a moth's brain as an artificial neural network – and taught it to recognize numbers to a fairly high accuracy with just a few training examples. The software, dubbed MothNet, can apparently discern handwritten digits with 75 per cent to 85 per cent accuracy, given 15 to 20 training …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    Roses are red, Violets are blue...

    We're all gonna die, When the moth-brain A.I. kills you !

    1. DropBear

      Re: Roses are red, Violets are blue...

      Roses are red, but if that is true

      you only exist in my dream about you...

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Roses are red, Violets are blue...

      (Moth)balls to the crappy poems

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Roses are red, Violets are blue...

        The Register's re[a]d

        And mostly it's true

        But its commentards screech

        And sometimes fling poo

  2. TRT Silver badge

    It will have practical applications...

    once they have worked out how to stop the computer bashing itself against the light bulb.

    1. DropBear

      Re: It will have practical applications...

      Only goes to show that moths are born scholars. "First, let us assume the source of light is at infinity..."

  3. Alister

    Y'think we're stretching this Valentine's date thing too far?

    The headlines I've seen so far have been quite clever, I thought. At least they rhyme and have the correct meter.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Y'think we're stretching this Valentine's date thing too far?

      That's a bit starry-eyed, innit? Must be a really good date you've got yourself.

      Or are you holding a candle for the moth?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Y'think we're stretching this Valentine's date thing too far?


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can you catch the moth with a skynet?

  5. David Roberts

    Roses are red, violets are blue

    Fetch me a coughin, I've got the man flu.

  6. Steve K

    Roses are red, today is a fun day,

    They''ll hit 100% success in a moth of Sundays

  7. Ed_UK

    Cannot compare

    I'm failing to see how these statements are comparable:

    "can apparently discern handwritten digits with 75 per cent to 85 per cent accuracy, given 15 to 20 training samples of each number."


    " That's not bad considering it takes thousands of training examples for more traditional neural networks to achieve 99 per cent accuracy."

    To make a fair comparison, I'd need to see what the moth-model does after thousands of examples. Also, what does the traditional NN do after 15 to 20 training samples?

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Cannot compare

      I was wondering the same

  8. Teiwaz

    Roses are....tired and hacked to death as a romantic metaphor.

    Value as a tool in actual romance : -20

    You really want IT people to sink lower in the eligible batchelor stakes.

    After usage #2, tired and hacked out full-stop.

  9. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Roses are blue, violets are red. Today moth brains smell numbers instead.

  10. Paul Cooper

    Obligatory XKCD

  11. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Obligatory Simpsons Reference

    That tobacco hawk moth caterpillar in the picture seems to be on a tomato - but given its love of nicotene-bearing plants, could it be a tomacco?

    1. defiler

      Re: Obligatory Simpsons Reference

      Tomacco was _exactly_ my first thought. Glad I'm not the only one.

  12. sisk

    Thanks Reg!

    Yay! It's Sucks To Be Single Day! I'd almost forgotten till I saw all the "X is red, Y is blue" headlines.

    1. Long John Brass
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Thanks Reg!

      Sucks To Be Single Day

      Really; I amuse my self to no end giving frantic co-workers all sorts of useless/dangerous advise when the realise that they have forgotten the most important day since Christmas, new year, mothers day etc...

      The look of terror, fear & horror in their little faces is a joy to behold and brings a smile to my cold dead heart :)

  13. Mark 85

    Interesting research...

    So when will we have a moth running for political office?

    1. Cynic_999

      Re: Interesting research...

      Never. Moths have far to much sense.

      1. Swarthy

        Re: Interesting research...

        Indeed, this proves that they can recognize the writing on the wall.

  14. Wensleydale Cheese

    Y'think we're stretching this Valentine's date thing too far?

    All I found in my letterbox this morning was a fictitious bill from a scammer.



  15. Tom 7


    Caught like a moth in a flame I've been reading up as much as possible about deep learning etc and this is the first non-beehive approach I've seen. Most stuff seems to be like a beehive - honeycomb layers connected together one after the other. If people find connecting things in different ways they may well breakdown seemingly difficult barriers with ease!

  16. onefang

    So they can sniff out a phone number?

  17. onefang

    Is Artificial Intelligence metamorphing into Artificial Insects? Might be impossible to get the bugs out.

  18. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    "rewarding it when it recognized the numbers correctly"

    How? It's not like the NN is going to enjoy a good drink of nectar..

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